It was time. The long-awaited moment that Stephanie so readily prepared for.
It was a beautiful day, warm, the roaring winds nipped at her face as she approached the edge. Harness firmly strapped onto her waist, but it was nothing like the simulations in training. Flying high thousands of feet in the air, the adrenaline that was pumping through her body suddenly ran dry.
“I can't do this!” she screamed.
“This is no time to punk out!” her instructor retorted. “It’s now or never!”
No matter how ready you believe you are for the deep dive, when it's right in front of your face everything changes. The doubts and worries settle in and suddenly everything you've practiced goes out the window.
If she was scared, she would breathe and simply count to ten.
In theory, this was the best option and the most practical thing to do, but in reality, it felt impossible.
It is funny how we can plan for every scenario in our head, but when faced with the struggles up front and center it is a whole different ball game. Kind of like when you study for a test and you freeze up, or when you try hard to stay motivated and consistent with a diet but then fall victim to the burger.
Stephanie couldn't brace herself to jump that day. Thousands of dollars wasted. The fear crippled her and her self doubts kept her from doing the very thing she dreamed of.
In the following weeks, Stephanie replayed that moment in her head. How could she have choked in this way? She spent weeks studying and prepping, going through the training. She put in the extra work trying to get her mind, body, and soul right. That day was finally her moment to shine, and she choked; center stage and put to the test, and she failed.
The instructor patted her on the back and gave her a hug. He tried to be comforting. “It happens to the best of us,” he said with a solemn face.
But that's just the thing, Stephanie didn't want to be labeled like the rest of them. She wanted to be different, to defy all odds. To get it right the first time and not choke.
But we are all human. Stephanie was human.
It took many weeks for Stephanie to feel like herself again. To not wallow in her own self-pity and to realize that everything happens for a reason.
“Rejection is God's protection” she penned this gentle reminder on a sticky note and placed it on her front door, so as she walked out of her house every morning she would see it.
She had to go to work and face her coworkers. “Did you make it?” “Did you do it?” “How was it?” “Omg!” They each squealed, eagerly bombarding her with all the questions. After all, Stephanie was gone on vacation for 2 weeks, so they wanted all the details. She bragged and scoffed at how she was going to take the big jump and go skydiving. High in the clouds. She was elated and ecstatic and no one could get her off her high horse. However, Stephanie wasn't ready for the fall. She got the wind knocked out of her and the horse galloped away laughing at her woes.
Stephanie faked a story and stated that the flight was canceled and she would have to try again next year. Stephanie couldn't face the fact that she choked. That she caved and that she couldn't do it.
The best part about falling down? There is only one way back, and that is up. Got to get back on your feet and get back to the grind. Have to find your way out the rut and keep pushing. Easier said than done, but eventually Stephanie began to feel better.
She wrote about it, confided in a few close friends about it. She finally opened up to her coworkers and admitted how much of a failure she felt like. How could she have failed this simple test, all she had to do was jump. Literally, take one step and JUMP, and she couldn’t even do that.
But in order to heal and move on you have to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for being human. Mistakes happen and failures are inevitable, but it's what you do after the fall that matters. Even if it takes a bit and you have to crawl, just never stop moving.
And Stephanie had to do just that. Keep moving. She would get her chance again, to prove to herself (and only herself) that she wasn't a failure. She had to understand what her triggers were and analyze the situation from a different perspective. Stephanie had to go through all the training, but this time, she had a newfound perspective. She was able to apply the experience she already gained and use it to her advantage.
What Satan sets up as bad, God uses it for good to propel us forward.
Another note to self. Another piece to remember.
Stephanie had to remind herself to let go of the outcome and just be. Accept that she is doing her best and that her best is good enough. Even if it isn't for anyone else, it’s good enough for her.
Stephanie was unsure when her next plunge will come, but when the time was right she knew she would be ready. She would take her transgressions and use them to fuel her jump. She’ll use the pain and hurt she felt from her first experience and do better, be better, and use that kinetic energy to take the deep dive.
Headfirst into the unknown, Stephanie dreams that she will fly. She will soar high like eagles and she will have conquered her test.